Newseum First Amendment Newsroom Diversity
First Amendment Center
First Amendment Text
Research Packages
First Amendment Publications

Today's News
Related links
Contact Us

spacer graphic

Jury decides West Virginia student can form anarchy club

By The Associated Press


Printer-friendly page

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sissonville High School was wrong to ban an anarchy club but was right to suspend the student who proposed it in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, a jury decided on July 12.

The Kanawha County Circuit Court jury awarded student Katie Sierra $1 in damages. She was suspended for three days in October because she had fliers at her desk promoting her proposed club after administrators rejected it.

Principal Forrest Mann also ordered Sierra not to wear T-shirts with handwritten messages that included, "When I saw the dead and dying Afghani children on TV, I felt a newly recovered sense of national security. God Bless America."

The jury agreed with the school board's argument that such messages disrupted other students' education.

Kanawha County school board lawyer Gary Pullin said the school became more polarized after the attacks and Sierra was a target of anger because of the club.

Sierra, 15, said she was happy with the verdict. "I'm going back to Sissonville High School in the fall and start my club," she said.

School superintendent Ron Duerring said there were no winners or losers in the case.

"We have a responsibility to maintain safe schools, and we see this ruling as another step in the process, clarifying our decision," he said.


Pro-anarchy teen changes mind about dropping lawsuit against school board
Katie Sierra seeks dismissal of suit over suspension for trying to start anarch club, then changes her mind.  06.09.02


Michigan school bans student's anti-Bush T-shirt
Dearborn schools spokesman: 'International Terrorist' shirt posed potential disruption at school where majority of students are Arab-American.  02.19.03